Thursday, November 29, 2007

THE GAME OF THE NAME: TOP TEN

The U.S. Census Bureau has released data from the 2000 census which shows the "popularity" of certain surnames. And for the first time, two Hispanic names have cracked the Top Ten: Garcia and Rodriguez.

Most of these names are pretty popular in Toobworld as well. In addition, the Number One name, - of course it's "Smith" - has shown up several times in the titles of TV shows: 'Mr. Smith', 'The Smith Family', 'Alias Smith And Jones'.....

But for some reason, I think the name "Taylor" would have been on this list if it was published by the Telemerican Census Bureau - Andy, Opie and Bea Taylor ('The Andy Griffith Show'), Tim Taylor & family ('Home Improvement'), Mac Taylor ('CSI: NY'), Chris Taylor ('EastEnders'), Dr. Alex Taylor ('Medics'), Vince Taylor ('Commander-In-Chief'), Mark Taylor ('Joking Apart'), Derek Taylor ('Silver Spoons'), John Taylor ('Paradise') and - well, you get the idea.

For the actual Top Ten list, I'd like to present at least one example for each name from Toobworld:

1 Smith
Dr. Zachary Smith, 'Lost In Space'

"Smith" is never going to be knocked out of its berth at first, I'm thinking, so I figured why not knock it down a peg in status by illustrating the name with Toobworld's most sniveling, craven coward of a villain, who may have been a pederast in the making?

Dr. Zachary Smith tried to sabotage the Jupiter Two spaceship back in the late 1990s, but he was trapped on board the ship when it blasted off. In order to survive, he formed an uneasy alliance with the Robinson Family and took an almost unhealthy interest in young Will Robinson.

2 Johnson
Alice Johnson, 'Room 222'

Alice Johnson was the plucky and idealistic young teacher on the faculty of Walt Whitman High School. Although the actual character was never seen again in Toobworld outside of 'Room 222', I've often thought she might have made for an interesting Companion for the Seventh or Eighth Doctor in their unseen adventures. I don't know why, maybe it's that young and idealistic teacher aspect....

3 Williams
Rusty Williams, 'Make Room For Daddy'

The reason I chose Rusty over his father Danny is that for the nightclub comic, "Williams" was a stage name; his real name would have been Lebanese in origin. For Rusty, however, it would have been the name registered on his birth certificate.

Rusty will one day make the TV Crossover Hall of Fame as he appeared in 'Make Room For Daddy', 'Make Room For Grand-Daddy', 'I Love Lucy', and 'The Joey Bishop Show'. Sadly, the actor who played him took his own life a few years ago.....

4 Brown
Ed Brown, 'Chico & The Man', 'Ironside'

This was always a theoretical link for me. It's my contention that Sgt. Ed Brown of the San Francisco Police Department was the son of Ed Brown, who owned that old garage in Los Angeles. Spend a little time with that irascible old coot and you can easily see why the family relation between the two went unmentioned....

5 Jones
Kenneth Yarbrough Jones, 'Kentucky Jones'

Like "Smith", there would have been plenty of choices available for the name of "Jones", so I figured I'd go with one of the late Dennis Weaver's lesser-known characters.

Kentucky Jones was a widowed veterinarian who was unprepared to raise the Chinese orphan his late wife applied for just before she died. But Dr. Jones came to love Ike Wong (full name Dwight Eisenhower Wong) and both of them learned from each other while living on a Southern California ranch.

6 Miller
'Barney Miller'

One of the best central straight men in sitcom history, Captain Barney Miller was the calm eye in the storm of his precinct who couldn't maintain that same equilibrium in his home life. In the present day of Toobworld, Captain Miller is surely and well-deservedly retired from the force, especially since his old precinct was turned into a police museum honoring Teddy Roosevelt.

7 Davis
Cissy, Buffy, Jody, and Uncle Bill Davis, 'Family Affair'

Since it was a family affair, it wouldn't be fair to choose one over the other in this case. Cissy and the twins were the children of Bill Davis' brother, who perished with his wife in a car accident. The confirmed bachelor had to adjust his lifestyle - his globe-spanning business interests as well as his romantic dalliances - in order to make room for the children in his life. (It turned out to be more of an adjustment for his gentleman's gentleman, Mr. French, but they all gelled into a true family unit.)

8 Garcia
Penelope Garcia, 'Criminal Minds'

Better known just as Garcia, she's a computer whiz kid who can tap into just about any online source of information to provide assistance for the FBI profiler team. It looks like she survived an horrific attack in the most recent episodes, one which might force her to take stock of her life and her infatuation with Agent Morgan.

9 Rodriguez

Detective Al Rodriguez is partnered up with Ruben Sommariba at their NY precinct, where their commanding officer knows them only as "Rice And Beans". The viewing audience never heard him speak - perhaps a trick he learned from former police officer Francis Muldoon - but we know he could... off-screen. Several times charactes would talk about what Al had to say to them and of course we never got to see proof that he told them anything.

10 Wilson
George Wilson, 'Dennis The Menace'
As the cantankerous old man who lived next door to the Mitchell home, George Wilson was often beset by problems caused by young Dennis Mitchell. It got so bad that he finally had to be move into a sanitarium (something which his wife Martha would never speak about).

It can't be proven, but it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, as Mushrat would say, that George and Martha Wilson were the parents of Tim Taylor's next door neighbor on 'Home Improvement'. But that would take further research, as I'm not sure whether or not his parents ever showed up over the fence on that sitcom.

So those are my examples of the Top Ten names on the US Census as of 2000.

My name? Well, if you must know, it placed 234 on the list; up from 281 from 1990, thank you very much. And definitely without help from me adding to the list.

(This is where I grip my my tie, Rodney-style, and sneer, "Not that I know of......")

BCnU!
Toby OB

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